Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

How to get more interest in your art on social media

2017 . 03 . 02 - Comments / Commentaires (12)

- -—[version française]—- -

Marketing experts like to say that social media has made it easier for artists to promote their art, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Here are some tips for making your online marketing more effective.

Remember that social media is about being social.

It doesn’t do any good to hop on, post something about your art, and hop off again. Even if being on Facebook makes you jealous or depressed, you can’t just dump your marketing and run. You need to figure out how to make social media a positive experience.

For my part, I used to get jealous of other people’s “like” counts and comments. I wondered why my friends weren’t being as effusive about my stuff. Then I remembered that jealousy tends to be a red flag for me. I realized I was being shy, reserving my own “liking” and commenting for when the content really moved me. Maybe others were shy too? I reasoned that if I opened up I might be able shift the universe towards more interaction in some small way.

While I can’t prove that my increased engagement actually changed the world, I do know it changed me. I just don’t care anymore about the thumbs and how far up they are. I stopped viewing social media as a tool and just let it be a place for being social.

Play the long game.

Social media is marketing, but not like advertising is marketing. Corporations with their ads and their PR pushes are looking for the quick return. The focus is on clients, instead of on client. It’s why companies are so awkward when they try to talk to people on Twitter. Interacting with individuals one on one is lunacy in their book, and they’re bad at hiding how they feel.

Luckily, you’re not a corporation. Forming lasting relationships with individuals is a lot easier for you because you’re an individual too, and therefore you instinctively know how to respect individuals. Your personhood is your best weapon against corporations. It’s why your profits may be smaller and may come more slowly, but it’s also why people like you better than they like brands, and they’ll stick with you longer.

Say something.

Many artists post images of their work without any commentary. They feel the piece says everything they want it to say. I get it, and it may even be true (though I wrote a book about why I think it’s not). That said, it’s also true that a lot of people like to hear more from artists, and there aren’t that many artists who are willing to put themselves out there. If you want to stand out, share about your process and yourself.

Revealing more about your art has lots of non-marketing benefits too. My favorite bonus is that talking about my art makes it better. When I engage with others about my work, I learn how they see it and that insight helps me to communicate better with my next artwork. Because art isn’t just self-expression; it’s also communication.

Know the platform’s pressure points.

Every kind of social media has its conventions and quirks. Researching the different platforms and how they work is worth the effort. You’ll learn that Facebook is jealous of its users’ attention, meaning that, if you’re constantly linking your friends to articles elsewhere on the Web, Facebook will stop showing your posts to as many people. Understanding that Twitter is basically one big chat room and that interest on Instagram is driven by hashtags will help you make your presence on those platforms more powerful.

For years, I resisted playing by YouTube’s convention of custom thumbnails for videos. The idea of taking the time to design an image to represent every vlog so that it would be more appealing to viewers aggravated me. I refused partly because YouTube’s community has lots of trolls in it and partly because it felt like being a rat in YouTube’s maze, pressing the lever to get the treat.

Recently, I realized that not taking advantage of YouTube’s convention was, in itself, a waste of time. Why post to the platform at all if I wasn’t going to make it count?

Gwenn Seemel YouTube

screenshot of my YouTube profile

And the excuse that the YouTube community is too crappy to deserve extra attention? There are still lots of good people who use YouTube. In fact, one of them said to me a few months back that my videos are so good that I should be making custom thumbnails because more people needed to hear what I have to say.

- The problem of MORE / Le problème du PLUS
- How to make a living as an artist
- How to love your art (and yourself)

CATEGORIES: - English - TOP POSTS - Business of art -

Gwenn Seemel on Liberapay     Gwenn Seemel on Patreon

(12) Comments / Commentaires: How to get more interest in your art on social media

-- Cathy Hasty -- 2017 . 03 . 02 --

WOW!  This is great material and I will share it widely, after I PRINT IT off and pay attention to it for myself.  Concise and right to the point. 
You are sooo wise and generous.  KEEP up the great work.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 03 . 02 --

@Cathy: Thank you! Our conversations inspired me to put this together. I feel like each tip could be its own topic to be explored, but I decided it was useful to see it all together like this. Thank you, always, for your encouragement!

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-- Veronica Funk -- 2017 . 03 . 02 --

Excellent post Gwenn not that they all aren’t smile

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 03 . 02 --

@Veronica: Thank you!!!! smile

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 03 . 02 --

Great advice Gwenn smile It’s good to see I’m doing some things right :D I’ll do better with the YouTube thumbnails from now on

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-- Michelle -- 2017 . 03 . 02 --

Merci! ..très utiles et encourageants tes articles!

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-- Genevieve -- 2017 . 03 . 05 --

Hello Gwenn,
Thanks for this, I didn’t know that Facebook is biased against sharing posts that link outside their platform. I guess it makes sense, tho. And thank you for your encouragement to ‘play the long game’, focussing on individuals to develop long term relationships is an excellent point.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 03 . 06 --

@Linda: Haha! Yes, it’s always good to read these sorts of articles and be able to check some things off as done!

@Michelle: Merciiiii!!!!!!

@Genevieve: Facebook likes to host all your stuff right on its own platform and many people (artists included) comply by using Facebook as their sole platform for sharing photos, videos, and text on the Web. It creeps me out when I think too much about Facebook’s control over people’s expressive output. :( I find it’s a good idea to remember that I don’t have the power with Facebook (and other platforms). No matter how much I try to work with their conventions in order to “game” their algorithms, Facebook holds all the power. This is frustrating, but not focusing on just one platform helps me be less frustrated.

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-- Kate Powell -- 2017 . 04 . 16 --

Excellent and so true.  I haven’t many followers but the ones I have mostly have a personal relationship, and ask questions and I talk to them.  I remember them.  They are PEOPLE, first and foremost, not clients, and that makes the difference. 

I think FB is good for making connections, but not for selling art… not necessarily… Though I have had commissions off FB.  It is too psycho in its algorithms. So I have fun on FB and focus more on the other platforms. 

And I bow to the master marketeeeer!

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 04 . 17 --

@Kate: It’s interesting to me how different platforms have different flavors and uses for different people. A lot of people I’ve talked to seem to view Facebook as a more private space compared to other platforms. It’s hard for me to understand this distinction, since none of it feels private to me, but I like hearing about how other people exist in the social media spaces. It helps me relate better when I’m on those platforms…

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-- Pat Krishnamurthy -- 2017 . 08 . 17 --

Nice article, Gwenn. I especially like your advice about engaging as an individual with other individuals as opposed to just marketing you brand. I think reciprocity is important. I tend to stop paying attention to social media “friends” who are only interested in promoting their projects or their brand and rarely engage with me as a person.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 08 . 17 --

@Pat: Totally! It must work on someone, because they keep doing it, but it’s definitely a turn-off for me.

I hope you’re doing well, friend! Give Portland a big hug for me!

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